Chinese car maker BYD has shown the BYD E6 electric car at the Detroit Motor Show and plans to launch it in the US in 2010.
BYD is a Chinese car maker very much on the up. They’ve gone from building no cars at all in 2001 to the fourth biggest car maker in China by 2009. That massive growth has lead to BYD’s founder Wang Chaunfu becoming the richest man in China.
But BYD aren’t really taken seriously in the West. They have claimed at the Detroit Motor Show that the BYD E6 will go on sale in America in 2010 for around $40k and that BYD will be the world’s biggest car maker by 2025. Which has lead to some mirth amongst journos and disbelief at the claims. But they underestimate BYD at their peril.
BYD is at the cutting edge of battery technology. It has developed a battery using Ferrous Ion, which is plentiful, cheap and non-toxic. They are claiming a 10 minute top-up charge will deliver over 120 miles. A full charge will deliver over 200 miles. All of which is massively better than anything else on the market.
They also have deep pockets from the last decade of growth but – far more importantly – they have massive backing from the West in the shape of Warren Buffet who has invested $250 million in BYD. And the good Mr Buffet is not renowned for chucking his money at hopeless ventures.
Yes, the styling on the BYD could do with some work. Their PR could do with a bit of Western slickness. People in the West need to be convinced. But the BYD E6 could reshape the electric car landscape in a big way.